NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A new study from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is reporting that pedestrian deaths from traffic accidents in 2022 could be the highest they’ve been since 1980. The study identified New Mexico as the worst offender, with a rate of 4.4 fatalities per 100,000 people.

With numbers based on final and preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), GHSA is projecting that 7,508 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2022, a 1% increase from 2021’s 7,443 deaths. It’s an upward trend that has been happening since 2010.

Courtesy Governors Safety Highway Association

Although New Mexico’s 2022 numbers are high, they are almost 10% lower than 2021’s pedestrian fatalities (103 in 2021 and 93 in 2022). The study states that the 1% increase in fatalities can be attributed to large increases in states like Virginia, Oregon, and neighboring Arizona. The Grand Canyon State saw a jump an 18% jump to 307 deaths.

The study says that in 2021, speeding was a factor in 8.11% of pedestrian fatalities. Of those, 9.6% of the victims were people between the ages of 35 and 44 years old.

Nineteen percent of the 2021 pedestrian fatalities involved a driver with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Of the 60 fatalities caused by drivers between 16 and 20, 23% of them had that BAC.

The report says that when states were surveyed for the 2022 preliminary data, they were asked to provide information on their pedestrian safety programs. California reported that they had developed a social media toolkit explaining core principles of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Safe System” approach, which identifies ways drivers and pedestrians can be safer on the roads.